Perpetual licence or subscription plan? Find out which is best for you.
Back in March 2022 I looked at the value proposition represented by software subscriptions, and noted the apparent resistance to subscriptions among Pro Tools users online. Online conversations are rarely representative, of course, and a vocal minority can make things appear less nuanced than they are, but the fact remains that there have always been a significant number of people who are wary of signing up for software subscriptions.
In a surprising move, at the end of September 2023 Avid announced the reintroduction of perpetual licences for Pro Tools, meaning that for the first time since April 2022, it has become possible to buy a new permanent licence. What does this mean and what has changed?
To clarify the situation, perpetual licences have never gone away. Despite some alarmist headlines at the time that Pro Tools had gone ‘subscription only’, this was never the case. In April 2022 Avid announced that they were ceasing sales of new perpetual licences — existing owners of perpetual licences weren’t affected by this announcement. If they maintained an update plan they continued to receive all the benefits that carried, and if they chose not to maintain that update plan, their software would continue to work at the version they were on when they chose to go off‑plan.
Then an announcement in September stated that new perpetual licences would be reintroduced through resellers (they are not available from the Avid webstore), allowing new customers and existing subscribers to purchase a perpetual licence. Not only that, the offer has been improved. Here’s how it works.
When they were last available, Pro Tools Ultimate perpetual licences cost $2599. A Pro Tools Ultimate perpetual licence now costs $1499£1299, a reduction of over 40 percent. An ‘off plan’ perpetual licence holder who hasn’t maintained an upgrade and support plan used to have to pay a Get Current fee. This was Avid’s way to encourage perpetual licence holders to maintain an uninterrupted upgrade and support plan. This Get Current charge has been discontinued and there is now a fixed cost to reinstate an upgrade plan. For Ultimate users this cost is $399£330.
This is very significant as it means there is now no financial penalty to be paid for going off‑plan, so perpetual licence holders can choose whether to upgrade or not based on the features and functionality being introduced in the updates, rather...